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Ed Sheeran

Whanganui leader Esther Tinirau put tangata whenua first

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Whanganui leader and te reo Māori educator Esther Tinirau has died after a long fight with bowel cancer.

Ms Tinirau from Rānana was set to become national director of Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust when she was diagnosed in 2016 aged just 51.

Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa Packer says she worked closely with the Ngāti Ruaka wahine when they were trying to bring their respective iwi into the Iwi Fishing Collective.

She was hugely intelligent and bought her academic life at Massey University under Tā Mason Durie to the board table, ensuring first principles as tangata whenua were always upheld.

When she got sick she became a staunch advocate and campaigner alongside Bowel Cancer NZ for lowering the bowel screening age for Māori to 50, which was adopted at the last election as Māori Party policy.

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